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School, Occupation, Culture, and Family: The Impact of Parental Schooling on the Parent-Child Relationship NIH

Laosa, Luis M.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Administration for Children, Youth, and Families, HEW, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Office of Education, Spencer Foundation, Cognitive Development, Mexican Americans, Parent Child Relationship, Parent Influence, Socioeconomic Influences, Teaching Styles


In contrast to the amount of attention and research devoted to the impact of schooling on individuals, relatively little research has been directed to answering questions about the effects of schooling on family interaction. Based on the available evidence, the author proffers a two-fold general hypothesis: (a) among the enduring effects of schooling on the individual are certain behavioral dispositions that determine how he or she will behave as a parent, e.g., how the person will interact with his or her children; and (b) in turn, parental behavior will have important consequences for the child's development of specific cognitive skills, learning strategies, and personality characteristics. The primary focus in the article is a conceptual and empirical examination of the impact of schooling on the parent-child relationship. In the course of a series of studies, attempts are made to determine whether parental schooling, parental occupational status, and maternal employment each have a distinct pattern of influences on educationally related aspects of the parent-child relationship. The inquiry is conducted in the context of issues regarding ethnic diversity, individual variability within ethnic groups, and educational and occupational equity, giving particular attention to Chicano families. The findings regarding linkages between parental schooling and the parent-child relationship suggest plausible explanations of the frequent scholastic failure observed among the members of certain ethnic minorities in the United States. Therefore, as a secondary focus, a broad theoretical model is presented that causally links parental schooling, family interaction processes, and children's scholastic performance. (108pp.)

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